The Vase Born From a Restaurant: The Alvar Aalto Savoy Vase

Choosing the right flowers is important, but what about the vase? During the Mid-Century millions of different vases were designed, but probably the most iconic one -since it was born- is the Aalto’s Savoy vase designed in 1936.

The main characteristic of the Scandinavian design is the organic form of furniture and objects and, as I already wrote in Alvar Aalto vs Ikea and The first Aalto House, the Greatest Inspiration for Your Mid Century House , Alvar Aalto was one of the first designers to be inspired by the natural organic shapes and to adopt them for his works. The Savoy vase is the most popular example.

Even if the organic forms were not new to Aalto’s stylistic vocabulary, there have been many speculations about the origin of the vase’s shape: the trees, the water, Finland’s lakes. A point that Aalto never clarified.

For sure, the undulate shapes often recurred in Aalto’s works especially within his laminated wooden furniture.

The origin of its name, instead, is well known. It comes form the Savoy Restaurant in Helsinki that Aalto was furnishing while participating at the glass design competition at the Paris World Fair of 1937 with the -future called- Savoy vase commissioned by the Finnish manufacturer Iittala. Aalto used many of them to furnish the restaurant -that’s why is called Savoy- and the fact that the vase won first prize in the competition made it even more popular.

The most peculiar characteristic of the vase is its shape, that makes it a sculpture when empty.

The Savoy vase has been, and still is, produced in many different colours and sizes by IIttala and extremely successful since its launch.


Did you already know the Savoy vase? What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments!

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